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OF GOD'S ETERNAL INTENTION IN RESPECT OF THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE.
IT is well for us to take the materials for our discourse from the divine Scriptures, that we may not stray from the straight paths of the way of truth. The blessed David saith, 'Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations, before the mountains were conceived2.' David, the harpist of the Spirit, makes known thereby, that although there was a beginning of the framing of Adam and the other creatures when they were made, yet in the mind of God it had no beginning; that it might not be thought that God has a new thought in respect of anything that is renewed day by day, or that the construction of Creation was newly planned in the mind of God: but everything that He has created and is about to create, even the marvellous construction of the world to come, has been planned from everlasting in the immutable mind of God. As the natural child in the womb of his mother knows not her who bears him, nor is conscious of his father, who, after God, is the cause of his formation; so also Adam, being in the mind of the Creator, knew Him not. And when he was created, and recognised himself as being created, he remained with this knowledge six hours only3, and there came over him a change, from knowledge to p. 7 ignorance and from good to evil. Hence, when Divine Providence wished to create the world, the framing of Adam was first designed and conceived in the mind of God, and then that of the (other) creatures; as David saith, 'Before the mountains were conceived.' Consequently, Adam is older than the (other) creatures in respect of his conception, and the (other) creatures are older than Adam in respect of their birth and their being made. And whereas God created all creatures in silence and by a word, He brought forth Adam out of His thoughts, and formed him with His holy hands, and breathed the breath of life into him from His Spirit, and Adam became a living soul1, and God gave him the knowledge of the difference between good and evil. When he perceived his Creator, then was God formed and conceived within the mind of man; and man became a temple to God his maker, as it is written, 'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you2?' And again, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them3.'
1 Chap. ii in the Oxford MS.
2 Ps. xc. 1, 2.
3 See Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 7; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 7 a, col. 2: 'At the third hour they entered Paradise, for three hours they enjoyed the good things, for three hours they were ashamed, and at the ninth hour their expulsion from Paradise took place.'
1 Gen. ii. 7.
2 1 Cor. iii. 16.
3 2 Cor. vi. 16; Ex. xxix. 45; Lev. xxvi. 12.